"Thank God and the vigilance of Gen. Al Ahmer, this plot was unmasked,"
a statement by military officers who joined the opposition said.
The sources said the Saleh regime has sought to divide the First Armored
Division by planting provocateurs and paying soldiers to oppose Al Ahmer.
They said members of Saleh's Presidential Guard, disguised as tribal envoys,
opened fire on the general, who escaped injury.
Dozens of senior officers have defected from the Saleh regime and joined
the opposition. The sources said the regime has lost control over most of
the countryside to tribes, Shi'ite rebels or Al Qaida.
In some cases, Saleh appointments of governors have gone awry as the
officials fled their posts. One defector was identified as Taha Hajer, who
resigned as governor of the northern province of Saada and returned to the
Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
The Gulf Cooperation Council has sought to mediate the crisis in Yemen.
But most of the opposition has insisted on the ouster of Saleh, blamed for a
sharp rise in the killing of protesters in April.
"GCC mediation requires its acceptance by all relevant parties without
any exception," GCC secretary-general Abdul Latif Al Zayani said.